Arctic War - Norway's Role on The Northern Front

T I WAS ONLY AFTER Nor way was OF THE OCCU- THE came ARCTIC into the war news. And with it the names of such places as Iceland, Spitsber­gen and First Greenland. Iceland, that rugged island mantled with snow and ice, yet bubbling with springs of hot water. British troops were rushed thereto guard vital sea-lines which would be imperilled by a German occupation of Then Iceland. came the thrilling chase across the grey and stormy Arctic Ocean of the German battleship Bismarck, which culmin­ated in her Spitsbergen, destruction. the Norwegian archipelago only 600 miles from the North Pole was evacuated and everything of use to the Germans was Thrilling destroyed. convoy battles were fought across the length of the Arctic Sea with the Merchant Navy, the Royal Navy and the Air Force winning laurels under terrible conditions. There was the news of the re-occupa­tion of Spitsbergen by Norwegians, with its resultant clashes with the Germans ;*of the Norwegians’ heroic stand when the German battlefleet, including the Scharti- horst and Tirpitz, raided the islands. And it was in the Arctic Sea that the Scharn- horst was ultimately sunk, whilst Tirpitz was struck half a dozen times and more in her lair in the fjords of Arctic Norway before she was finally sunk inTrom so fjord NOR aWAy on November The 1944. 12th, salient points of these have stories been told. But the full “inside ”story of the Arctic war has until now had to remain a closely guarded military secret. The islands, small continents and seas that stretch across the roof of the world have been more than just a battleground in which the enemy has been It German. has been a battleground in which the elements have often been the chief antagonist. Men of the United Nations have experienced the full violence of nature in the north. The blizzards, the gales, the fogs, the terrible cold and, probably worst of them all, the It isolation. has been because of these storms, because of the extreme weather up there, that these men— principally Norwegians, be­cause of their knowledge of northern condi­tions— have had to be thereat all. For the Arctic, where much of the weather that reaches Europe is born, is all-important for Over meteorology. the thousands of miles of desolation from Spitsbergen in the east to Greenland in the west the Allies have established a chain of weather stations which is the key to many of the vital air, sea and land operations which take place on the Continent. On small groups of men living in tiny huts surrounded by snow and ice and mountain has often depended the lives of thousands of These men. “met men,” as they are known, check the wind, the temperatures, the barometer, note all the vagaries of the weather, measure the intensity of the storms and assess the depths of the fogs. Their work is never done. Every three hours in the twenty-four, day in day out, month in month out, year in year out, they radio their reports to Britain. Every three hours— eight times a day !From every possible point in the Arctic these reports reach the meteorological experts in Britain. They interpret them in terms of wind or calm, storm or sunshine, which might be expected either in London or Berlin.
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